I don’t normally do requests, nor in fairness do I get many, in fact I’d go as far as to say that free beer rarely arrives at my door for review either way (not that it should of course). Yes I’ve had the odd marketing agency ask and a couple of breweries send new lines out to me now and then, but for me reviewing/blogging time is scarce so I choose to only write about things I’ve really enjoyed and not waste time on negativity. Not everyone’s approach, but each to their own and that is mine.
Anyway onto Crafty Dan.
This one really fits in neither category in terms of how I got the beer. I “won” it for want of a better description, in one of those follow and retweet to win sort if things run by Thwaites. After being told the good news, I waited “patiently” (taps foot) for my beers to arrive and was really chuffed when this little package of goodness was revealed.
The addition of the note I have to admit, really made me chuckle. I also had high hopes that in a true Alice In Wonderland stylee, drinking them would make me drop a couple of well needed jeans sizes (miracle beer?). On the other side of the tag though was another note…
As I read it, again a smile crossed my lips as I thought “you crafty f*****s”, but in truth I really admired the tongue in cheek approach the guys had taken. Beer should be fun right?
I decided there and then that I’d definitely write this one up regardless of what I found.
First off I love the look of the labels, they are bright and draw the eye in an interesting way with the barrel-shaped word cloud of beery info, although perhaps they’ve gone just slightly over the top with the craft references…
As I opened the cap the signs were good, the wisp of escaping carbonation loaded with zesty fruit. Saying that after pouring it’s not massively carbonated which works quite well, I’d be interested in how this would stand up in a keg versus cask taste off as I reckon both would work.
In the glass it’s a lightish gold colour with the loose white head disappearing rapidly. Aromas are not massive, I sort of expected a hoppy steam train hurtling headlong up my nostrils, it doesn’t come, but it still delights with dainty strawberry syrup, peaches and then marmalade spread on warm fresh white toast.
The taste follows suit in a really drinkable fashion, this beer hides its strength well. I could see myself quite easily quaffing several pints of this, no trouble at all but with dangerous consequences.. It’s light in the mouth but full of flavours, with for me, the marmalade and strawberry leading the way balanced with crusty bread malt tones. There’s a Chelsea flowershow-esque festival of floral notes going too mixing pleasantly with a lovely orange and lemon zestiness.
Crafty Dan is the 51st brew from Thwaites “craft” micro-brew plant of the same name, brewed to celebrate it’s one year anniversary and much as I’m not a massive fan of the big boys of brewing taking this line, I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It’s drinkable, flavoursome and hoppy without being as bitter as a broken heart as some pale ales can be and as much as I like that, a change is as good as a rest.
I’m not sure as to when and where this is going to be available commercially, I’m hoping for pubs and upcoming beer festivals, maybe someone from Thwaites can comment and put that straight? What I can say though is its stable mate “13 Guns” is doing the rounds, I know this as it’s due on at my local any day now, if you see it, try it as it’s a stunner.
If you try either, I’d love to hear what you think.
UPDATE: Check out this video review from Rob over at Hopzine